Researchers Using Smartphone to Manipulate Brain Cells

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 10:17

Researchers in Korea and the United States have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone.

According to the Science Daily reports, researchers invented a device which is able to control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone.

The results of the research, which has been released in Nature Biomedical Engineering, showed that the device can speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, addiction, depression and pain.

The device, using Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and powerful bluetooth low-energy, can target specific neurons of interest using drug and light for prolonged periods.

"The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before," said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Colorado Boulder.

"This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering," said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. "We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications."

Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.

"It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behaviour, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behaviour in various ways," he said. "We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction, and emotional disorders."

This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea, U.S. National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Mallinckrodt Professorship.

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